Thirty Day Anime Challenge – Days Six to Eight

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Time to write some original content, as it appears that sites cannot survive solely by reblogging other people’s posts. I thought the readership would appreciate me promoting their work, but alas the numbers don’t lie. View counts are down and some have even branded me lazy in the comments section. To make amends I will answer some more questions from the Thirty Day Anime Challenge. In theory I should be answering one of these every twenty-four hours, but that sounds like too much hard work. Hmmm, I guess that commenter was correct about me being slothful!

DAY SIX: Anime I want to see but haven’t yet

I want to watch Grave of the Fireflies, but haven’t yet because I am a pussy. Whenever I think of picking up the DVD I reconsider due to the subject matter. A movie about war decimating families and kids starving to death sounds downright depressing. Isn’t entertainment meant to be fun? For me the appeal of anime is the kickass action, bouncy boobies and hilarious comedy. The synopsis for Grave of the Fireflies reminds me of In This Corner Of the World – a film that made me feel miserable. One day however I will cross off Fireflies from my bucket list. Just like Akira or Ghost in the Shell it has the reputation of being a critically acclaimed feature that every anime fan should experience at least once.

DAY SEVEN: My anime crush

Technically speaking, I have already answered this back when I participated in the Five Flaming Hotties tag. To see a list of my favourite animated women click HERE. For the sake of this post I’ll mention someone who barely missed out on making the Flaming Hotties quintet – Nene Romanova. I suppose you could say she was my first anime crush, as she appears in the first anime DVD series I ever purchased (Bubblegum Crisis 2040). Out of the four Knight Sabers she was my favourite. Nene is funny, looks good in a uniform and has geek girl appeal thanks to her computer skills. Completing the package is a cute voice, provided in the English dub by voice actress Hilary Haag.

DAY EIGHT: Favourite anime couple

My vote goes to the Clannad pairing of Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa. One advantage this couple has over other anime lovebirds is that we see their relationship develop over two seasons. Whilst other shows end with the leads sharing an inaugural kiss Clannad covers how Tomoya and Nagisa went from high school sweethearts to husband/wife and finally parents. I dig this ship because they compliment each other so well. Tomoya supported Nagisa with her health issues and Nagisa’s influence, in turn, saved him from a delinquent existence. If you haven’t watched Clannad I highly recommend that you do. Given my earlier comments, in the Day Six section, you know I dislike tragic stories. You can therefore rest assured that Clannad is completely devoid of tearful moments (muwahaha.)

Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? On The Side

What is it with Japanese creators and their ridiculously long show titles? Do you think they are overcompensating for something? This twelve-episode DanMachi spin-off follows the Loki Familia guild, on their journey through a dungeon infested with monsters. The fantasy themed story is pretty straightforward, aside from some mysteries that sadly remain unanswered by the time this cour finishes. Oh the joys of anime adaptations based on light novels that have yet to reach a definitive conclusion.

The protagonist of this tale is a stoic fighter named Ais Wallenstein. She resembles a less fleshed out Violet Evergarden. If you prefer girls with a bit more personality fear not, as she is accompanied by an emotional Elven sidekick (who secretly has the hots for her.) Sword Oratoria is a three star series in my opinion. Nothing special, but DanMachi fans who seek more animated adventures set in the same universe should enjoy it. For more information please click below to read MIB’s assessment of the recent UK home video release.

Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? On The Side(Cert 12)

2 Discs DVD / 2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 303 minutes approx.

Release Date: September 3rd  

As the lengthy and cumbersome title suggests, this show is a spin-off from an existing series, featuring one of the characters from the fantasy comedy Is it Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? and giving them a moment in the spotlight. I’ve not seen the parent show but it would appear this isn’t an issue as the lead and her support cast are introduced as if this was a fresh series.

The titular dungeon is not, in fact, a vast underground lair where people are interred and subject to daily torture, instead it is the name given to the multi-level area beneath the Tower of Babel in…

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Thoughts on Berserk

This write up from Jeffrey Botah reminds me what an excellent series the nineties Berserk was. An exceptional rise and fall tale set in a medieval/fantasy world that should appeal to Game of Thrones fans. Highly recommended to anyone who isn’t squeamish. I would rank Berserk as one of my fave anime of all time, were it not for the inconclusive ending. Back when the movie trilogy came out I was disappointed to learn that it was just an abridged version of this story, rather than a continuation. One of these days I’ll have to check out the new anime. I just need to muster up the willpower to deal with its horrible CGI.

Jeffrey's blog

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(Possible spoilers)

Berserk. That shit is messed up and you know what? I’m fully here for (most of) it. It’s an anime that had been on my list for a long time and I finally got around to watching it. If I’m getting this right, there are two Berserk series and I watched the one from the 90’s so I’ll watch the other series at some point. Berserk is a story about a swordsman named Guts who pretty much on sights anything that moves, his supreme inability to control his sword erection earns the interest of a man named Griffith who forcibly recruits him into his group the Band of the Hawk, where the real story begins as they journey to achieve Griffith’s dream.

From the beginning, the anime didn’t even try to hide that it would have a dark tone and it tried even less to hide that it…

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Review of Trigun: Badlands Rumble

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It’s great to see Full Metal Panic return to our screens after a lengthy hiatus. The gap between FMP content reminds me of the time when Badlands Rumble first hit the scene. This ninety minute animated film was released in the year 2010… over a decade after the Trigun series aired in Japan! You certainly cannot accuse studio Madhouse of rushing out a product to capitalize on the popularity of a show. This story takes place sometime during the events of the Trigun series (so it isn’t a sequel) and sees Vash tangle with a robber named Gasback, whose life he spared twenty years prior.

OVERVIEW

Badlands Rumble takes place in Macca City, a settlement where Gasback’s former lackey Cain is the incumbent mayor. Years ago, the pair had a falling out after Cain betrayed Gasback during a heist. You cannot trust anyone named Cain it seems… just ask Abel! Gasback has decided to pay back his ex-henchman by riding into Macca and stealing a pricey bronze statue that is situated there. As luck would have it, Vash the Stampede arrives in town just before Gasback’s raid is due to go down. Talk about bad timing. Vash has a sixty billion double dollar price on his head. That could well attract the attention of the multitude of bounty hunters, who are presently in Macca hoping to nab Gasback.

Vash isn’t the only one suffering from ill fortune. Insurance girls Milly and Meryl are back and this time round their employer has tasked them with protecting the abovementioned statue. If said sculpture is damaged their company will be out of pocket. Guarding the statue will be no easy task, as wherever Vash goes destruction usually follows. Upping the ante is the appearance of wandering priest Nicholas D. Wolfwood. This man of the cloth, who carries a rocket launcher fashioned after a cross, has been hired to be Gasback’s bodyguard. Wolfwood’s church services will be required, as a redhead named Amelia is currently pursuing Gasback with the aims of avenging her late mother.

VERDICT

My rating for Trigun: Badlands Rumble is a three out of five. Fans of the Trigun series are sure to enjoy this new Vash adventure. It’s an enjoyable space western that delivers in terms of cool gunfights and humorous slapstick, courtesy of its needle noggin protagonist. Viewers of the old show are sure to appreciate the movie’s upgraded visuals. Thanks to the higher production values, both the animation and artwork have received a substantial facelift. It’s especially noticeable, as Trigun never pushed the envelope when it came to spectacle. Compared to something like Cowboy Bebop, which came out at around the same time, the series lacked polish and has therefore aged less well.

I remember loving Badlands Rumble, back when I first bought the DVD, but have to say that I liked it less on a recent viewing. This second screening helped me identify how the script rehashes ideas from the series. A criminal who desires revenge on his old gang is reminiscent of the episode titled Love & Peace for example. Amelia also reminded me of Elizabeth, who appeared in episode six, as they are both beauties who seek vengeance against an outlaw. Given the movie’s place in the Trigun timeline there isn’t much tension, as we all know Vash will escape from this trial unscathed. I did however dig the moments that question Vash’s no-kill philosophy. Not murdering may sound noble, but as Batman has learnt, is it ethical to pardon those who will just go off to do more harm?

One thing I can say about watching Badlands Rumble is that it rekindled my dream of seeing a Trigun remake that sticks more faithfully to the manga. Full Metal Alchemist and Hellsing have proven that such a project could work. Given the time it took for this movie to get made though, I suspect that the wait for a new Trigun show would be longer than Vash’s full name. For those of you who don’t know, his complete moniker is – Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gumbigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andry Charton-Haymoss Ivanovici Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser the Third.

Thirty Day Anime Challenge – Days Three to Five

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The time has come to answer more questions from the Thirty Day Two Year Anime Challenge. If you happen to be a reader who isn’t interested in this type of post, as you are subscribed exclusively for reviews, I recommend that you check out these critiques from other bloggers instead…

Manga Review: Komomo Confiserie
Movie Review: Valley of the White Birds
Video Game Review: The Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword

Okay, let’s jump to it. In this instalment I will be tackling posers three to five.

DAY THREE: Favourite Male Anime Character

Vash the Stampede is a character that won me over, after a shaky start. My first impression of the Trigun protagonist was that he is an annoying clown. He resembled an Inspector Gadget like buffoon who saves the day through sheer luck. Later on however it’s revealed that Vash’s antics are an act. The humanoid typhoon is a skilled marksman who deserves the sixty billion bounty on his head. Despite his fearsome reputation Vash is actually a pacifist who refuses to kill, no matter how much his targets deserve execution. His merciful creed often places him in perilous situations were he suffers harm, and yet he sticks to his peaceful ways. I respect his steadfast determination… and badass style. That big gun, yellow specs and red coat are so cool that even Alucard ripped off the look.

DAY FOUR: Favourite Female Anime Character

Anime is filled with amazing women. There are ladies who have been born with supermodel bodies; girls who can singlehandedly take down armies and geniuses that put Einstein to shame. My pick for best anime female however goes to someone who possesses none of those prodigious traits – Hana from Wolf Children. She is a prime example of why mothers should be cherished. I especially admire how she faces challenges with a smile. Her partner dies, social services threaten to take her kids and the crops meant to feed her family wither away. None of those hardships are able to crush her spirit. How she is able to remain positive when disaster strikes is beyond me. I’m the sort of person who plummets into a deep depression when an anticipated video game gets delayed!

DAY FIVE: Anime I’m Ashamed I Enjoy

I’m not ashamed of my viewing habits in the slightest. As my embarrassed friends and family will attest to, I have no qualms about broadcasting my love of wacky cartoons on social media. If push comes to shove though, I suppose Burn Up Excess is a show that I wouldn’t admit to liking during a job interview. This futuristic law enforcement series actually played a part in reigniting my passion for anime, back when it aired on the Sci-Fi Channel (I refuse to call it Syfy). Burn Up Excess is a delightful mishmash of cheesy nineties action and funny characters. Why would anyone be ashamed of such a show? Well, the DVD has a feature called “Jiggle Counter” that keeps tally of how often the heroines’ chest bounce. I’m not ashamed, but my progressive friends probably are on my behalf.

SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online Review

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Sword Art Online is a bit like Marmite. You either love or hate it. There’s no disputing that the anime adaptation of Reki Kawahara’s novels is insanely popular. We recently got a movie and a third season is due out later this year. Despite all that, many of the bloggers I follow detest SAO with a passion. They dislike how the second half of season one played out and how protagonist Kirito is a Gary Stu of Rey (Star Wars) proportions. If you are a Kirito hater you’ll be pleased to hear that this spin-off series stars a completely new cast of characters. Viewers of season two will recognize the setting though – it’s Gun Gale Online.

OVERVIEW

Karen Kohiruimaki hates being tall, which I can understand. Height may be a desirable trait for males, but that isn’t the case for members of the opposite sex. Lanky girls can have a tough time finding a boyfriend, as guys are sensitive about size… and no, I am not talking about their junk. Asking your partner to crouch down, for a kiss, can be a tad embarrassing for us blokes. Although there is nothing Karen can do about her stature in the real world, she can at least experience being petite in VR games. The main reason why she elects to play GGO is because it permits her to control an undersized avatar named LLENN.

LLENN begins life in Gun Gale Online hunting down NPC monsters. Due to her terrible aim, LLENN’s weapon of choice is a close range submachine gun that she christens P-chan. The pink firearm occasionally sprouts cute eyes and utters words of encouragement to her. Weird. Anyways, one day during her wasteland hunts she bumps into a fellow gunslinger named Pitohui. The pair become friends and begin grouping together to partake in PVP action. After proving her prowess, in taking down players, Pitohui suggests that LLENN register for the upcoming Squad Jam contest. Little did LLENN know that Squad Jam would live up to its name, by placing her in a sticky situation where Pitohui’s life is on the line.

VERDICT

My rating for Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is a three out of five. The series is entertaining enough, but overall I would rank it as the weakest SAO title to date. My chief complaint with the show is its lack of story. The script tries to resurrect the SAO idea of “potentially fatal online game” with its finale, but for the most part the thirteen episodes simply chronicle LLENN’s performance in two battle royale tournaments. Due to the focus on competition, GGO feels like a sports anime. This sport however features brutal takedowns and inappropriate flirting, where opponents hit on a protagonist that looks underage.

Best girl without a doubt is Pitohui. She reminds me a little of Revy from Black Lagoon, as she excels at killing and is bat shit crazy. This bloodthirsty chick doesn’t respect truces and has a reputation for slaying her own teammates. LLENN is a far less interesting character. Just like Kirito, she comes across as plain and unbeatable. Despite being an MMO newbie she is able to defeat professional marksmen with a combination of agility and serendipity. Karen is the type of girl I would gladly group with in Overwatch. Would I date her? Nah. Climbing up a stepladder, every time I want a smooch, would get tiresome.

Thirty Day Anime Challenge – Days 1 & 2

sherlockhound

Inspired by the posts Matt Doyle Media has recently written, I have decided to tackle the Thirty Day Anime challenge. For those of you who don’t know Matt, you can find his excellent blog by clicking HERE. He is a talented chap whose skill set includes novelist, cosplayer and former wrestler. Technically speaking, to complete the challenge, I am supposed to post one answer per day. Sadly that is impossible due to my laziness busy schedule. What I’ll do instead, when time permits, is answer multiple questions on one post. Okay, enough with the lame excuses. On with the show!

DAY ONE: The First Anime I Ever Saw

I cannot answer this one accurately due to my goldfish like memory. To be fair though, my fortieth birthday is fast approaching. Recalling what one watched when they were a kid isn’t easy. Back when I was a youngster I liked shows such as Robotech and Mazinger Z, but I doubt either series was my first anime. I suspect the winner of this accolade is either one of the mecha shows my parents would rent out on VHS or one of the cartoons that would air on Spanish TV. With that in mind my guess is either Vehicle Team Voltron or Sherlock Hound.

Vehicle Team Voltron is the lesser known of the Voltron shows. When someone thinks of Voltron they usually picture the Beast King Go Lion one. It was the more popular of the two, back in the day, and is presently enjoying the remake treatment over on Netflix. To be fair a robot made up of lions looks way cooler than a mech with cars for feet. Sherlock Hound, as the name implies, stars a canine version of the famous Detective Holmes. Animators love to turn characters into pooches. Just ask Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds. One interesting titbit about Sherlock Hound is that the legendary Hayao Miyazaki directed six of the episodes.

DAY TWO: Favourite Anime I’ve Watched So Far

Maybe I shouldn’t have signed up for this challenge. These questions are tough! My favourite anime of all time pretty much changes with my mood. One day I’ll pick one show and another day I’ll say something else. In terms of contenders Full Metal Alchemist and Code Geass are in the running. FMA however has its flaws. The first series had a weak anime exclusive finale, whilst Brotherhood intentionally rushes through its early material. Code Geass on the other hand is great, but can no longer be considered to be a complete story. I hear that a new season is in the works. Now I have to wait in fear that the next instalment may potentially tarnish its legacy.

With those two shows out of contention I will cast my vote for Death Note. If you are unfamiliar with Death Note I recommend reading Man in Black’s comprehensive review located HERE. Some people disliked how the story played out, after a certain key event, but I personally was hooked from start to finish. A captivating cat and mouse game, packed with twists and memorable characters. Light is an example of someone with good intentions that gets corrupted by power and hubris. Ryuk’s sharp chompers prove that apples are good for your teeth. L looks creepy but in actuality is a sweet guy (I blame his diabetes inducing diet.) Both the anime and manga are exceptional. There’s a Netflix live action adaptation too, but do yourself a favour and pretend that it doesn’t exist.